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Dune Robber Fly Eating a Sulphur Beetle, credit Jamie Spensley
Dune Robber Fly Eating a Sulphur Beetle, credit Jamie Spensley

Double anonymous peer review on Ecological Entomology

Ecological Entomology has recently changed its peer review procedure from single anonymised to double anonymised. Single anonymised review (often known as single blind review) means that reviewers are aware of the names of the authors, but authors are not aware of the names of the reviewers. Double anonymised review means that neither authors nor reviewers are aware of the others’ identity (unless either chooses to reveal it).  

Single anonymised review has been the traditional model of review across the biological sciences. However, in recent years concern has grown around bias in the process which has the potential to negatively impact marginalised groups including women and authors from the Global South, who are underrepresented in the field. A recent randomised trial led by one of the Editors-in-Chief of Ecological Entomology, and co-authored by the RES Head of Publishing, compared submissions reviewed using single anonymous review against those reviewed double anonymously. Data revealed a significant positive bias towards authors from higher-income or English-speaking countries when their papers were reviewed single anonymously. Other studies have suggested that author gender also influences peer review. Adopting double anonymous review is likely to help reduce the effects of biases that exist, as well as reduce the perception of bias. 

“This is an exciting development for the RES journal portfolio and I congratulate Ecological Entomology on leading the way in this initiative to address bias and perception of bias in manuscript peer review.” 

Shaun Winterton, Trustee and Chair of the RES Publications Committee

Ecological Entomology is therefore switching to double anonymous review from now in the effort to improve equality in peer review. The RES Publications Committee will review the change in due course and take a decision whether to adopt double anonymous review for the other RES journals after consultation with their editors.  

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